Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I attended a concert. The opening band had a person playing that I lovingly refer to as "The Magical Flute Player". (Stay with me here. This is serious. Even though my dark side totally wants to crack an inappropriate joke, I will refrain... )
At first I was taken aback that this particular band had a flute player at all, but after suspending my disbelief, I realized that I couldn't take my eyes (and ears) off this person. He was so many things: odd, enchanting, totally out of place but also totally in the right place. He was totally at home, totally exquisite, totally wonderful and totally... HIMSELF. In that moment I realized very clearly...
I love artists!!! (Please excuse my excessive use of punctuation. Sometimes I get really excited.)
I have always loved artists, but I spent a large part of my life working pretty hard not to be one. When I was younger, I had a period of time where I became jaded about the artistic community and my place in it. At that point in my life there was a lot of snark, pettiness, and focus on looks and talent (or lack of). After many years of study, 4 years at a conservatory and many, many more auditions, I wanted OUT. I just wanted to be NORMAL. I wanted to be with people who were kind to each other and who didn't care who could belt out a Whitney Houston song while working as a singing waitress (long story) and people who didn't give you the side eye when you walked in the room to size you up as competition for some part-or-other.
So I walked away. I was sensitive and tired. I couldn't filter out the negative noise to find the artistic beauty. I stopped. Cold Turkey. I was tired of myself in that context and I was tired of THEM.
I adjusted my life and settled in to a life of "normalcy". I moved to the suburbs, stopped mentioning my theater degree, distanced myself from my past life and began again. I still did creative things: I got a job with a music school and quietly taught lessons, eventually managed the front office and have happily worked in the background on curriculum for many years. Along the way I got "pangs" here and there reminding me of my former life. Every now and then I'd feel a longing to be among the artists again, but I reminded myself of all of the bad parts over and over and eventually the pangs became fewer and fewer until I didn't really notice them anymore.
Then a series of events started to open up a hole in my creative soul. We were going through rough life transitions with family members. I was approaching a new decade in my life. Several friends and relatives died. I started seeing real creative happiness happening all around me with people who had remained in the artistic community, but had worked past and through all of the superficial bullsh** and really, truly become who they were meant to be. (*Cue mid-life crisis here!)
Then one night, fate (or whatever you call it) drew me to "The Magical Flute Player". In that strange and wonderful moment I realized that THIS is why I love artists. There was this odd and enchanting person, being uniquely and confidently himself and sharing it... and it was a beautiful thing.
I truly love artists who are putting their art out there and sharing WHO THEY ARE. They don't just try to live up to a cookie-cutter stereotype in a headshot. I love artists who are expressing something universal in a way that is uniquely their own, but also in a way that helps the rest of us feel and understand that particular thing better than we did before. I love artists because they are open, curious, feeling and informed people. I love artists because they are ever improving and ever evolving. They get that things in this world are always changing and they embrace the chaos. They see things not as they are, but for the possibilities.
Artists have an ability to see the beauty in the sadness of this world and to see the sadness in the beauty. They help us make just a little sense of it all. Artists, at their best, are truly themselves and they are not afraid of that.
As I am rediscovering and rekindling my love of art and artistic people, I am noticing a shift. The people I knew and once thought of as snarky and mean are now grateful and appreciative of their place in the artistic community. At their best, artists become more humble, enlightened and accepting of who they are (or occasionally disillusioned and sad, but that is for another blog post).
Where once they were small, scared, judgmental and unsure of their places in the world, the artists I know now are more sure of themselves and giving of their talents from the right places and for the right reasons. More selfless and less selfish.
So… in closing, I humbly declare that I love artists.
And I am crazy proud to be one.
© 2016 Krysta Bernhardt. All Rights Reserved.